Hello! From Team Hackbrighters

Posted on by Patricia and Melissa

Categories: blog and student posts

Who are we?

We are Patricia Arbona and Melissa Fabros, and we are based in the Bay Area of California. Patricia had lived her entire life in the Midwestern part of the United States, primarily in Ohio and Chicago. She attended the University of Chicago for college, and studied Latin American history in addition to Spanish and Portuguese. Afterwards, she had a career at a major educational publishing company, where she was an editor and translator (Spanish-English/English-Spanish) for Spanish High School textbooks. She believes passion for foreign languages translates well to programming, because she views programming as learning a new type of foreign language. She moved out to the Bay Area earlier this year, to attend Hackbright Academy, a fellowship for women who wish to transition to software development. It was at Hackbright where she met her dear friend, Melissa!

Thanks for the intro, Patricia! Melissa comes to programming from the world of non-profits and higher education. Her interests in programming started in middle school where she was one of the first girls to join the computer club. However, she majored in English and American Literature in college. She loved the way literature “codes” the human brain to build worlds and emotions in the imagination. She is a PhD candidate in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She maintained her coding interests by making small web page projects. A friend once told her that reading good code is like reading good writing, which piqued her curiosity. Since that conversation, she went from teaching at the University of California, Merced to taking part-time coding classes, completing a Google Summer of Code internship, graduating from Hackbright Academy, and starting the Rails Girls Summer of Code fellowship.

Together, we’re working on the Lektor project, a Python-based content management system. The project uses the Python programming language to build static web pages that also have a dedicated administration interface. The build system is in Python, admin UI is written in React.js, and the static pages use Markdown.

Our project mentor is Armin Ronacher. Our local coaches are Ramil Nobleza, Gavin Crooks, Samantha Trieu, and Seema Ullal

Below is our team:

First meeting with Mentor and Coaches

Clockwise from top-left, Team Hackbrighters (Patricia and Melissa), Gavin Crooks, Ramil Nobleza, Samantha Trieu, and Armin Ronacher.

What have we achieved so far?

We merged a pull request that helps users install the Linux dependencies needed to run Lektor. We’ve tasked ourselves with giving some love the Lektor’s admin UI. The first thing we did was to set up our workstations at Github’s office in San Francisco. Team Hackbrighters setting up

Everyone at GitHub has been extremely supportive and welcoming us for our summer fellowship. Octocat has been especially helpful in giving moral support:

Team Hackbrighters with Octocat

We also had our Kick-Off party with our sagely mentors. At the Kick-Off party, Melissa and Ramil caught a Zubat! Catching Zubats

To accomplish our task, we’ve reviewed our Javascript fundamentals, particularly solidifying our knowledge of scopes, closures and javascript objects. We found Nodeschool and the Node community really helpful and welcoming as we dived into Javascript! Team Hackbrighters at NPMNPM's mascot Haggis, a wombat, was giving us moral support at Node School

We researched how developers test React.js components by interviewing every front-end developer we walked into. This is us, for most of our journey learning JavaScript and exploring the vast possibilities of front-end testing: Pikachu..huh?

What tips do we want to share about our journey?

Transitioning from another career (We’re both humanities majors previously deeply involved in Education) is really hard. Be nice to yourself while you’re learning because learning to code is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days you won’t be able to wrap your mind around a new or difficult concept.

Transitioning careers is difficult. It’s moving into the unknown, and some people won’t understand why you’d pursue something new. People who are close to you will question you about your choices–they may see your decisions as rash and drastic. Others may doubt you. But if you invest time in yourself to learn, to meet people, and to establish new roots (whether in a new town or a new profession), the concepts and people who seemed mysterious start to make more sense.

You have to believe in yourself and find friends and colleagues that will help hold you up during hard times.

What will we do next for the project?

  • We’ll make a pull request for an update to the community page’s Code of Conduct.
  • We’ll write test coverage for Lektor’s Admin UI page.
  • We are in the process of learning React, so we can contribute updating the UI’s components.
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